(a) A hearing may be held in the department at Montgomery, Alabama, or at any other place in this state more convenient to parties and witnesses, as the commissioner determines. The commissioner or his deputy or examiner shall preside at the hearing and shall expedite the hearing and all procedures involved therein.
(b) Hearings may be closed to the public at the commissioner's discretion; except that a hearing shall be open to the public if so requested in writing by any party to the hearing.
(c) The commissioner shall allow any party to the hearing to appear in person and by counsel to be present during the giving of all evidence, to have a reasonable opportunity to inspect all documentary and other evidence, to examine and cross-examine witnesses, to present evidence in support of his interest, and to have subpoenas issued by the commissioner to compel attendance of witnesses and production of evidence in his behalf. The testimony may be taken orally or by deposition, and any party shall have such right of introducing evidence by deposition as may obtain in the circuit courts.
(d) Upon good cause shown, the commissioner shall permit to become a party to the hearing by intervention, if timely, only such persons who were not original parties thereto and whose pecuniary interests are to be directly and immediately affected by the commissioner's order made upon the hearing.
(e) Formal rules of pleading or evidence need not be observed at any hearing.
(f) Upon written request seasonably made by a party to the hearing and at such person's expense, the commissioner shall cause a full stenographic record of the proceedings to be made by a competent reporter. If transcribed, a copy of such stenographic record shall be furnished to the commissioner without cost to the commissioner or the state and shall be a part of the commissioner's record of the hearing. If so transcribed, a copy of such stenographic record shall be furnished to any other party to such hearing at the request and expense of such other party. If no stenographic record is made or transcribed, the commissioner shall prepare an adequate record of the evidence and of the proceedings.
(g) Upon written request setting forth the reasons therefor of a party to a hearing filed with the commissioner within 30 days after any order made pursuant to a hearing has been mailed or delivered to the persons entitled to receive the same, the commissioner may, in his discretion, grant a rehearing or reargument of any matter involved in such hearing. Notice of such rehearing or reargument shall be given as provided in Section 27-2-29.
(h) This section does not apply as to hearings provided for in Chapter 13 of this title.